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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

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278                 "            tIFE   OF
primary law of true morality is, educate yoiirself, and
only the second, influence others by what you, are;
these axioms are so firmly impressed upon my mind
that nothing can change them. And how, cherishing
such opinions^ could I tolerate a position in which I
could scarcely hope slowly to approach the ideal which
filled my mind and heart ? how could even the good
I certainly effected, compensate for that which I
shall in future be able to effect to a much higher
degree? I, therefore, preferred the most modest des-
tiny., a quiet domestic life, and a smaller sphere of
action. In it I can live for myself, create a cheerful
contented life for those nearest to me, and, perhaps,
if my good genius grants me some fortunate hours,
add something to the enriching or cultivation of the
sphere of Ideas to which all action in the world,
voluntarily or involuntarily, only tends. Thus much
of myseK and my situation."
He concludes by recurring to the happy days for-
merly spent in IForster's society, and thanks him for
the improvement his society had, always been to him.
Although Humboldt's resolution to abandon a
lucrative official position, and live with more exclu-
siveness for his own intellectual and spiritual culture,
be highly praiseworthy, and has led to the happiest
results for science and literature by perfecting his
great talents, still it required such an entirely inde-
pendent worldly position as the one In which he was
fortunately placed to be'enabled to follow the bent of
his tendencies In life. The considerable family estates
left by his father were only divided between the two
brothers* The estate of Ifcmgewalde fell to Alexan-
der's share, who sold It, and undertook his great
Journey to America with the proceeds. William kept
Tegel and the estate of Hadersleben near Magdeburg.
By his marriage., his possessions were considerably
Increased. Madame von Mumboldt was heiress of
Bgfcrgorner and Aolebezt; the revenue alone amounted
to 10>000 thalers (1500Z.)a which was at that time con-
sLdeared a much greater income than it would be at